50 Best Blogs 2012
H&A is proud to present its 50 favourite blogs, as seen in the August 2012 issue. They’re fun, interesting and an inspiration to read – you’re sure to love them all
1 Bright Bazaar
Will Taylor, a young British interiors enthusiast, shares his favourite features from ‘shelter’ magazines (as interiors periodicals are known in the US) as well as his top home buys. He writes relentlessly chirpy posts, uses the word ‘cripes’ and has a penchant for bow ties. What’s not to love?
2 The Selby
This blog is a bit unusual – instead of personal diary-like posts, it’s an ever-expanding collection of photographs by New Yorker Todd Selby, showing creative people in their homes and studios. From chefs and stylists to models and musicians, it provides a fascinating insight into the lives and environments of creative people around the world. A nosey parker’s dream, it’s impossible not to take a peek…
3 Abigail Ahern
Designer of the moment (she recently showcased her skills on Channel 4’s Get Your House in Order) Abigail Ahern writes her frequently updated blog with such oomph and chutzpah that you’ll want to redecorate immediately. You’ll find trends, tips and news, along with heartfelt advice – balanced with real-life updates on the faulty coffee machine and the escapades of her two dogs, Mungo and Maud.
4 The Style Files
Danielle de Lange, who lives near Amsterdam, describes her style as basic and modern with clean lines, and her blog reflects that. The houses are mainly white-walled and minimal, and the accessries tend to be black and white or monchrome – but it’s all inspiring, especially for clutter-mongers like us!
5 SF Girl By Bay
Focusing on ‘bohemian modern style’, San Francisco blogger Victoria Smith shares her top shopping tips, interviews designers and goes behind the scenes to reveal real homes and artists’ studios. As well as interiors, Victoria often covers stationery or travel, creating a heady mix of lifestyle fodder that’s highly addictive.
The brainchild of Melbourne stylist and set dresser Lucy Feagins, this is one of the best organised and easiest-to-use blogs around. Daily updates pack in inspiring interviews with artists, designers, stylists and architects; news, and oodles of Aussie homes to drool over. The reviews of shops in Melbourne and Sydney are well worth a look too.
Scandi style oozes from every post on this stylish blog written by Monika, ‘A happy Swede in the US.’ A celebration of everything that inspires her, from wax seals and Gustavian antiques to her daughter’s adorable black-and-white paintings, you’ll find inspiration galore.
The concept behind Apartment Therapy is, ‘Saving the world, one room at a time.’ To that end, it’s updated several times a day with regular ‘house tour’ features, interesting buys and the latest news from major design events across the US and Europe. Along with aspirational photos of dream interiors, there are practical, affordable projects too.
Julia Knispel confesses that she is hooked on houses – and after just a few minutes on her blog, you will be too. Peep inside the homes of countless celebrities, check out houses coming up for sale all over the globe, and chuckle at some dodgy estate agent pics to boot.
With contributors from San Francisco, London and New York, this impressive blog boasts shopping pages, tours of architect-designed spaces and very handy ‘steal this look’ features, plus news on the coolest shops and restaurants in the world’s most design-savvy cities.
I want your life
Penned by south London vintiquing expert and jeweller Artemis Russell, no blog will give you life envy quite like this one. Everything – from her vintage VW camper van and shabby chic seaside wedding to her white-painted sewing shed where she spends her days quilting with Liberty print fabrics – is stunningly beautiful and fabulously photographed.
You can tell Hastings-based ‘Jeska’ is a photographer – her images are a delight – whimsical, poetic and inspiring. Sometimes she posts photos of her cats or her craft projects – at other times, she simply shares a snap of her (beautiful) lunch.
‘I’m just a girl who gets a kick out of dressing like a failed Hollywood starlet,’ writes Fleur de Guerre in her entertaining blog, peppered with dreamy photos of her in fabulous 1950s frocks. But it’s not all beautiful pictures of beautiful clothes: interesting historical snippets and reports on her love of running feature too.
If you dream of life in the city with a country escape for weekends, you’re going to love architect and designer Ben Pentreath’s blog. The owner of one of H&A’s all-time favourite shops shares regular updates on his London life; his beautiful Dorset parsonage and the amazing buildings he gets to work on too.
A pink fake fur coat, a white swimming costume and a giant gold star pinched from the Christmas tree sparked stylist and vintage shopping expert Naomi Thompson’s love of fashion. Her unerring sense of style is as steadfast as ever, and this is the place to find out what to buy and where to be seen in the world of vintage.
What Katie does, it turns out, is what many of us would like to do. When she’s not working as a freelance designer, she goes to lots of craft classes and knocks out nifty bags, jewellery and jams; makes regular jaunts abroad, and reviews the fantastic bars and restaurants she finds so the rest of us can get out and ‘do it’ too.;
Eat, drink, travel, garden
If that perfect B&B or holiday house eludes you, chances are you’ll find it here. A seasoned travel journalist, Sally has compiled her favourite reviews, mixing them up with ruminations on festivals, exhibitions, tea rooms – and the most beautiful gypsy caravan you’ve ever seen.
Rachel Khoo’s CV has something of the fairy tale about it. In 2006, she left her PR job in London to enrol on a pâtisserie course in Paris. Six years, three books and a TV series later and her star is clearly in the ascendant. A beguiling mix of recipes, favourite shops and travel tips, her blog is worth a visit for the ‘my favourite places in Paris’ listings alone.
19 Otter Farm
Even if you’re not that into gardening, ex-River Cottage head gardener Mark Diacono’s blog will make you smile. Colourful entries detail life with his family on his farm, with unexpected excursions to describe how a spot of shopping for blinds brought him face to cheek with Kylie Minogue’s bottom, for example.
20 What Katie Ate
Beautiful pictures, a dash of retro styling, and some of the most mouthwatering recipes you’ve ever seen – lemon pistachio cookies, anyone? – make this blog one of our favourite bookmarks. The work of Sydney-based photographer Katie Quinn Davies, this award-winning online journal is guaranteed to make you hungry.
A little bit of everything
21 Design Sponge
A giant of the blogosphere, this offers home tours galore, fun DIY projects and even a monthly cocktail to mix – but it’s the before and after posts that wefind most addictive.
Denver interior designer Raina Cox offers an amusing, sarcastic (and sometimes downright rude) take on interiors matters. White subway tiles; zebra-skin rugs and artfully arranged throws drive her ‘absolutely crazypants’.
H is for Home is best known as a retailer of gorgeous mid-century finds but its colourful blog covers everything from the designs and architecture owners Adelle and Justin love, to reviews of new art books and, most unexpectedly of all, anti-wrinkle facial patches – a boon after hours of screen-staring.
Car-boot finds, witty musings and decorating adventures from two anonymous London journalists with impeccable taste and wicked senses of humour.
Frustrated by the lack of inspiring fashion and style publications for the over 35s, trend forecasters Amanda and Jane took matters into their own hands. The resulting London-centric blog dishes up daily doses of news, reviews and ideas, giving you a taste of the big smoke, even if you can’t make it to the capital in person.
Founded by a Vancouver-based husband and wife team, this blog now features posts from contributors around the world. It seeks to promote emerging design talent, which it does partly through Poppytalk Handmade, its changing monthly online marketplace of vintage and handmade goods.
Nicky Haslam’s interiors are unashamedly high-end, A-list and aspirational but his blog – written by sometime cabaret singer Nicky and his creative director Colette van den Thillart – is a riot. Log on for an entertaining romp through celeb meetings, design inspirations and how to order a taxi with a built-in disco ball in Toronto.
28 Judith Miller's Blog
The doyenne of the antiques world, author, Antiques Roadshow specialist and H&A contributor Judith Miller is one busy lady. Catch up with her and the fairs she’s been to on this engaging blog.
This blog by presenter, writer, lecturer, curator and all-round good egg Katherine Higgins is still in its early stages but it promises good things. Expect interviews with leading designers, news on market finds that sell for thousands and a historical perspective on current catwalk trends.
H&A seems to bump into Liz van Hasselt at every fair we go to and this pretty blog explains why – Liz is at every lovely fair worth knowing about! Read all about the spoils of her antiques truffling trips and find out where you can get your hands on them next.
‘Patrolling the ’hood’ is the strapline for this upbeat, feisty blog by an American art director, dealer and self-confessed junker, whose favourite question is: ‘What if I buy them all?’ We wish we had her guts – and storage space!
Dapper Roadshow expert Mark Hill’s posts are as elegant and enthusiastic as the man himself. Glass is a popular topic as you’d expect, but plenty of other subjects get a look in too, as you discover where Mark’s been and the fascinating finds he’s picked up along the way.
There’s something rather soothing about this blog, whose author also writes a craft blog at murgatroydhoots.blogspot.com. You’ll find exhibition reviews and videos (we love the 1970s reel on the dangers of platform shoes) alongside charming posts about unexpected junk-shop finds.
Art & culture
Run by Simon and Angie Lewin and Kate Sullivan of St Jude’s Fabrics & Papers, this blog covers the latest projects by the variety of artists they work with. There are also similarly design-led posts on beautiful books, forthcoming exhibitions, covetable products and unusual hotels, making this a great place to make new discoveries.
The authors of this informative, thought-provoking blog are two avid poster collectors, ‘Mr & Mrs Crownfolio’, with quite particular tastes – namely British posters and graphics from the Forties, Fifties and Sixties. Read it for the content (you’ll learn a lot), the images (fabulous) or the details of upcoming auctions.
All life is here… well, all of it that fits into London’s Spitalfields district. Its anonymous ‘Gentle Author’ aims to post 10,000 stories about the area and the rich tapestry of tales encompasses everything from the 50-year dynasty behind one of the local cafes to the area’s dogs.
News and discoveries in the heady world of fine art are serious subjects but art dealer Bendor Grosvenor’s blog has an attractive lightness of touch. Look out for ‘Guffwatch’ – an occasional feature highlighting ludicrous descriptions of contemporary art – and amusing press stories on art theft and how not to do it.
If you’ve ever wondered why some houses have facades that don’t match their sides or who was behind the magnificent poultry-themed decoration of Leicester’s Turkey cafe, this blog has the answers. Written by author Philip Wilkinson, it’s a lively and personal account of Philip’s favourite prefabs, power stations and much more besides.
Every day, Austin Radcliffe uploads pictures of neatly organised things – from stacks
of carrots to guns and their component parts – to his madcap site. Trust us, you’ll like it.
Craft me beautiful
Jane Brocket is a big name in the blogging, and crafting, world and her pages are a delight, covering everything from quilting and fabrics to exhibition and film reviews to ways of displaying flowers. There are even cake reviews for goodness sakes!
Graphic and textile designer Jessica Jones gets her kicks from helping people to tap into their creativity – and her well-put-together blog is guaranteed to have you reaching for your craft box. Whether it’s simple paper garlands or doily-dyed fabrics, you’ll find something to tempt.
A lack of disposable income need never hold a girl back in her quest for style, as H&A columnist (see page 19), milliner and author Mary Jane Baxter well knows. Her cheerful, to-the-point blog offers all manner of simple, thrifty projects – from natty tapemeasure shoe clips to nifty hats.
Elise Blaha began blogging on Christmas Day 2005 and she’s still going strong. Her posts on decorating, sewing, cooking, craft and life with her husband Paul burst with optimism and energy – as also seen in the regular challenges she sets herself. She’s already confronted her fears of baking by making 40 loaves; this year she’s tackling pizzas – and attempting to complete 27 craft projects using 27 different materials before she turns 28.
American designer and boutique owner Elsie Larson is on a mission to make everyday life special with beautiful, handmade things. Those things include all manner of textile, food and decor projects that you can have a go at yourself thanks to the easy-to-follow, step-by-step guides posted by Elsie and her team. (Check out the guide to making a fabric-covered suitcase). As well as style tips, you’ll pick up plenty of useful pointers for taking better photographs, too.
Designs we love
One of the most widely read interiors blogs, this is written by American expat Holly Becker who gave up the corporate world for life as a professional blogger. As well as teaching classes on mood boards for Anthroplogie and writing books about decorating, Holly still finds time to post regularly about her love of craft and home decor.
Interiors journalist and vintage addict Ellie Tennant posts about hot-off-the-press news from the world of design, high-street finds and second-hand delights. Recent highlights include a post about a Japanese book called Crafting With Cat Hair and take-me-there snaps of a French brocante.
Helen Powell professes herself a fan of vintage vases and vessels, hydrangeas in summertime and hunting for treasure in junk shops – so it’s hardly surprising we love her elegant blog (not to mention her fab Obsessionistas website, as featured in the June issue of H&A). There are chic retreats, covetable fashion and interiors, handy sourcing guides – and the odd thing to make you laugh, too.
From Moorcroft vases to trendsetting scarves, Liberty has something for everyone – as does its blog. Check in regularly for inside info on what’s in store; archive shots of the best-dressed windows; competitions; and interviews with designers and creatives – we love cookbook author Donna Hay’s recipe for yoghurt and passion fruit cake.
Situated in the Herefordshire town of Ledbury, Tinsmiths is one of our favourite shops, thanks to its mix of lovely textiles, homewares and regularly changing exhibitions. The blog reflects all this and also throws in some top tips for what’s going on in the area.
Celebrating the world of surface pattern design, this is written by a mysterious UK-based blogger and author known only as ‘Bowie Style’, who does reveal that, like us, their favourite films include Cinema Paradiso and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Fabric, wallpaper, books, bedlinen, diaries, notecards, cushions, even socks… you’ll find it all here – and you’ll want it all too.